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Investing in data scientists brings strong results

Firms that invest in ensuring they have the most highly-skilled staff working on their data analytics operations can quickly turn this into real results.

This is according to a survey by data analytics and insight recruiter MBN, which found that 92 percent of companies that hire data scientists have been able to gain extra revenue from better use of their data, the Recruiter reports.

The study noted this compares to less than 30 percent of firms without dedicated data analysts that are able to achieve positive results from their analytics.

However, it also observed there are a number of challenges related to this that businesses need to overcome if they are to make the most of highly-skilled personnel. While there is a widespread recognition that big data analytics tools can bring benefits, there is often a lack of understanding about which department should be taking responsibility for this, how it should be used and how it fits into budgeting priorities.

Speaking to an audience in London last week, non-executive chairman at MBN Recruitment Paul Forrest said: “The issue here is, there’s a lot more work to be done. A lot of businesses are not configured to do it in the right way.”

Recruiting the right staff to help with big data is one of the biggest challenges firms will face, he stated. However, businesses should not assume that just because they have the right staff in place, their worries will disappear.

Although two-thirds of respondents stated that insight and data management are embedded throughout their organization, this view is not shared by data scientists, who were more likely to view the integration of information into business operations as being done poorly.

Mr Forrest said: “The people who will thrive are the ones who are able to put real business relevance into the work they’re doing over the next 12 months.”

Firms do need to think carefully, however, about how many data scientists they need and be certain they do not go overboard with their hiring.

“The feedback we’re getting from customers is that they want just a handful – maybe three, or five, or seven – skilled and highly educated data scientists, not an army of them, Vice-president of business development and marketing at Kognitio Michael Hiskey recently told CIO.com in an article entitled “How many data scientists does the world really need?” He further explained that Kognitio, an in-memory analytical platform designed for analytics on Big Data is commonly used by Data Scientists as their Data Science Lab, where it’s possible to rapidly prototype, experiment, development and iterate through projects that can add value to a business.

The key to data science is giving the skilled professionals the tools they need,” Hiskey continued, “so that they can build their models and use Big Data to add value to the business in a way that causes minimal disruption – using the tools, applications and dashboards to which the business is accustomed.”  He explained that the ability to promote Data Science projects to become part of “business as usual” for an organization will ensure they can best take advantage of Big Data in their business.

More information on the Data Science Lab functionality can be found on the Kognitio Blog on its Analytics Center of Excellence.